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NCAA Tournament 2012 Predictions: Picking the West

The West region should have some of the more entertaining high scoring games. Look for Missouri to emerge from the ashes.

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Most of the nation is probably salivating at the thought of a Michigan State and Missouri Elite Eight matchup, and it very well could happen. But there are quite a few upsets lurking around these here parts...

No. 1 Michigan State Spartans vs. No. 16 LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds: I've never been to New York City so I don't understand how a Long Island University in Brooklyn works. Michigan State advances.

No. 8 Memphis Tigers vs. No. 9 Saint Louis Billikens: Woe is the team that has to face Rick Majerus' Billiken squad. Saint Louis was one of the most ruthlessly efficient teams in the nation, and despite the athleticism of Memphis, expect to see hard work prevail in this effort. Saint Louis advances.

No. 5 New Mexico Lobos vs. No. 12 Long Beach State 49ers: I'm just going to flat out say Long Beach State is going to win right here because everyone else is saying that as well - and with good reason. Dan Monson's squad don't own a lot of marquee victories. Instead they own very well played losses on the road against most of the nation, specifically North Carolina, Kansas, Creighton, and San Diego State. New Mexico won the Mountain West in a very capable nature, but it is time for the 49ers to finally finish out a game. Long Beach State advances.

No. 4 Louisville Cardinals vs. No. 13 Davidson Wildcats: Never start betting against a Rick Pitino coached team in the first round. At least wait until the Sweet 16 for such shenanigans. Louisville advances.

No. 6 Murray State Racers vs. No. 11 Colorado State Rams: Murray State were the ultimate selection committee conundrum, a team that keeps on winning but not doing it against any really decent teams. The Racers bracket buster win over the Saint Mary's Gaels showed that they can compete with some of the better teams in the nation, and their great season isn't about to end in the first round. Murray State advances.

No. 3 Marquette Golden Eagles vs. No. 14 Iona Gaels: Marquette is led by one of the better guards in the nation in senior Darius Johnson-Odom. The question is whether or not the Golden Eagles will be able to slow Iona down, because so far this year not many teams have been able to. The Gael's like to get out and push the ball hard and fast. They topped 90 points 11 times this year. But Marquette is able to play some lock down defense. They will slow down Iona - just barely. Marquette advances.

No. 7 Florida Gators vs. No. 10 Virgina Cavaliers: This is going to be quite the entertaining matchup, and one of the harder to predict in the first round. The Gators can score just as well as the next team, but the next team can also score just as well against the Gators. Florida completely abandons defense for offense. Meanwhile, Virginia is a Tony Bennett led team which means you'll have more fun watching paint dry. Virginia held opponents to under 60 points 18 times this season. The Gators never scored less then 60 points all season. Bennett teams succeed by throwing teams completely off their rocker, and bank on that happening here. Virginia advances.

No. 2 Missouri Tigers vs. No. 15 Norfolk State Spartans: Missouri was one win away from being a one seed. Therefore, they get the protection that a one seed gets - absolute 100% certainty they will advance to the next round! Missouri advances.

Missouri is the great match-up with everyone in this region. The Tigers are a guard heavy team that likes to push the ball and will cause fits for most teams in this region. Marquette matchs up well against them, but expect a Missouri and MIchigan State Elite Eight match-up with the Tigers heading on. Missouri advances to the Final Four.

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